[Discussion] Starting an anarchist run Lemmy instance?

It has been proposed a few times I guess, and while Lemmy.ml seems to be not actively hostile against “us”, I would say it is very much in line with the anarchist idea to decentralize and become self-sufficient.

However so far no one seems to have stepped up to actually run such an instance, or am I overlooking something?

I personally have thought about it (I have a quirky 3 letter domain name that I would find fitting and also run my own servers), but to be honest I am not deeply embedded in the anarchist community (more of an anacho-individualist in that sense, despite being in favor of syndicalism in theory) and probably also have some other unpopular opinions in some ways. I am also a somewhat grumpy old white male not very keen on moderating community drama.

tl;dr: I think it would be cool to have something like that, but I fear that me starting (and mostly running) it would soon not be very popular and I am also hesitant having to deal with the likely hassle of running something like that.

@xe8
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Similar situation for me - I’m fairly new to Anarchism, and trying to learn at this stage. I figured I’d wait for a collective or individual to set something up.

In the meantime I think it’s important to carve out a little space here and test the walls to see what the needs are, and how we would like to structure our own instance.

I think Anarchists tend to cede a space too quickly when Marxists are around. I figure some Marxists are cool - if they’re doing the praxis of running a food stall, building communications platforms, being a street medic, etc. then I can’t say much against them. I don’t necessarily want to be in a space full of Anarchists where we’re preaching to the converted. I don’t want to only be communicating with Anarchists about Anarchism. It’s important to be engaging different types of people and topics for our own learning, and to spread our ideas.

So far this instance seems pretty healthy and I’d like to see it grow a bit more before branching out, but if someone were to set up a dedicated anarchist instance that would be good too.

poVoq
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I agree, there is no immediate urgency. The Marxists that run (& develop) this place seem mostly cool. And I like that around here is very little infighting / out-group meming, compared to some other places that seem to thrive mostly on a toxic “us Vs. them” rhetoric (not talking about actual Nazis as “them”… to avoid being misunderstood here).

What I mean with an anarchist instance is more a place run by people with anarchist ideals, not a place to only talk about anarchism obviously. I want a place where I can post my mutual-aid cat pictures ;)

tl;dr: I don’t think anything is wrong with lemmy.ml right now, but since it is federated, why not build on that?

@fruechtchen
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makes a lot of sense. lemmy.161.social is a anarchist instance, but focused on german content.

poVoq
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Hmm, yes they also have a few english speaking communities. Do you know anything more about their background? Seems Berlin Antifa based?

But IMHO they seem mainly (European/German) Antifa focused, which has a certain overlap with anarchists, but really isn’t the same. But that might not matter so much.

@fruechtchen
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they are from this community: old.reddit.com/r/dachschaden

@fruechtchen
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(so no its not berlin antifa based, its a general leftist german speaking community, berlin is just a big city with many people, so much happening there^^)

@rockroach
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will there be hard bans on ancaps ?

@southerntofu
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Personal opnion: yes of course. They will be welcome to find an account elsewhere, and educate themselves on anarchist (communist) principles on our servers if they will.

To be honest, some “liberal” interpretations of anarcho-capitalism make some good point, in that personal possessions should never be threatened by a higher power. The problem is anarcho-capitalists consider “personal possessions” to be anything you have a piece of paper for (property title), which is a wide interpretation that prevents any reflections for mutualizing/collectivizing.

@rockroach
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well we would be at least two :). for me the problem I had with anarcho capitalists online was that they usually fail to see capital concentration a threat to our freedom. they believe that we get rich by doing nice things, and some are even calvinists and they thing that if one gets rich it’s because they are going to heaven.

Btw, nice post on la grève des femmes. we should have more french content here. even if not translated.

@dumpsterlid
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Are ancaps actually part of an intellectually rigorous arm of anarchism? I don’t know anarchism that well but it seems like the whole understanding of the intersectionality of capitalism, racism, sexism, theft of indigenous lands and other forms of oppression demolishes the idea that anarcho-capitalism could fulfill the philosophical aim of anarchism.

Basically it seems to me Angela Davis is a giant iceberg and the Titanic is anarcho-capitalism.

poVoq
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Yes they are pretty separate as most social anarchist refuse to have anything to do with them.

The entire story is a bit more complex, with many anarchists endorsing market based principles but not absolute property rights, but for most practical purposes the people actually endorsing anarcho-capitalism are rather right-wing liberitarians than want to sound edgy or so ;)

@rockroach
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ancaps try to justify their name because they oppose the state. but they actually just oppose the welfare state. if you want to shine you can quote bourdieu when repeating this :)

@dumpsterlid
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I guess the question is do anarchists and marxists meaningfully differ on governance in terms of running a lemmy instance at this stage?

Also, I think its good to think about the benefit of having a centralized gathering place for newcomers to lemmy in the early stages of its growth. In some ways pre-splitting communities is kind of like pre-optimizing code right? Make sure its feasible to do so in the future but don’t worry about it right now.

I was pretty afraid mastodon.social would hit a point where it would just out compete all the other instances and the whole instance idea would become an atrophied feature on mastodob but I think the more I hang around federated communities the more it feels like there is a powerful counterbalancing desire in people to strike out and make their own camp once things reach a certain size so long as enough people are empowered with the know how to do so.

@southerntofu
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the anarchist idea to decentralize and become self-sufficient

Strongly agree. I find it really weird/funny in a way that the federated (anarchist principle) newsboard Lemmy is developed by marxists, while the centralized (marxist principle) newsboard PostMill is developed by anarchists.

Personally, i’m interested to federate with raddle.me but that will require some development on their side i have no time for. I’m happy to mentor someone who has some basic PHP knowledge to work on that, though.

no one seems to have stepped up to actually run such an instance

I haven’t exactly stepped up but i’ve been talking about it for almost more than half a year. I don’t wish to become an enlightened dictator and i already have a lot of projects to deal with, but i’m happy to help and provide resources for that.

I have a quirky 3 letter domain name

What is it? :D

I think it would be cool to have something like that

I agree, but it will require a lot of careful thinking through if we want to avoid reproducing terrible power structures. Although given the federated nature of lemmy, the power of moderators/admins is slightly less a concern.

poVoq
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I’ll probably use the domain for a XMPP server or so at some point ;)

poVoq
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it will require a lot of careful thinking through if we want to avoid reproducing terrible power structures. Although given the federated nature of lemmy, the power of moderators/admins is slightly less a concern.

Yes federation helps, but only so far. Of course you could go by the “market-place of ideas” concept and just start an instance and see if it becomes popular, but this as you say will likely result in an unhealthy power structure in the longer run.

I also thought about just setting it up as a sysadmin and hand the metaphorical keys to some community organization, but with such a “political” and public website the (personal) risk of abuse and legal issues is high and therefore you can’t really not be hands-on as a sysadmin IMHO.

Ideally some sort of established organization would run the server, but those are hard to find these days in anarchist circles (with Syndicalism and other more organized forms having fallen out of favor mostly).

Mobocratic Egoist
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FYI I have some PHP ability and might have the time to add this feature to raddle. Would they accept such a pull request?

@southerntofu
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Awesome! I believe it could be merged. It would probably not be enabled on raddle.me though because the admins have been legitimately traumatized by neonazi instances, and therefore don’t want to hear about federation at the moment. Both lemmy and postmill are great pieces of software, but i tend to prefer postmill for having better noscript support. Also worth noting postmill will run just fine on any shared PHP hosting, which is a great plus for decentralization.

I’m willing to help somehow with implementing federation for Postmill although i don’t have a lot of time. Maybe i could help review/document your patches? Or do you need more help? Also do you need some hosting space for development purposes or have you got your own infra already?

Mobocratic Egoist
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No clue where to start or what I need yet. I’ll check out the code and reach out to you if I hit a stumbling block.

@polymerwitch
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I think I still own the TLD anarchism.online and I’d be happy to transfer it to someone who would put it to good use.

poVoq
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Seems a bit unwieldy long. Something shorter and more playful is better in my view :) That TLD might be a good place for an anarchist library or so.

Mobocratic Egoist
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I’ve already hopped over here, lemmy.161.social, which seems to be more oriented towards German antifa. Of course, being federated, the more the merrier if you or someone else wishes to start an anarchist instance! I would certainly participate there.

carribean prole
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Yeah I came here just to ask this, I agree with your reasoning completely, and I also don’t want to be the only guy running it haha, i am going to do a test install on a VM and see how easily i can get it working and polished, i’ll keep you posted if you like.

But I doubt it would really get that big, not n the short term, while i think lemmy has more potential than raddle in terms of growth, we can take a lesson from them and see how long and tedious building an anarhcist forum can be. 3 to 5 comitted sysops could manage the server easily, and moderators can jvolunteer themselves from the userbase, naturally the sysops have their own interests, and opinions – which are separate from managing the site itself – so long as we don’t impose our most unpoular opinoins on the userbase and run things professionally we can avoid (most of) the drama. Being an anarhist forum policy descisions/moderation can be decided by collective descisions, you can hold polls and things like that ( lemmy supports polls right? )

poVoq
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No polls support yet (other than the regular post voting), but I think AP compatible polls are planned.

nBee
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I actually had a similar idea a few days ago. I like lemmy.ml, but would definitely appreciate an anarchist instance. So if you start one I’d join :)

@rockroach
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I am asking myself if we would have a bigger and more acitve community if we had a server somewhere else.

poVoq
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Hmm, why would you think so? I would guess that for quite some time it would be in fact smaller. Federation of course helps, but it does not by itself make a place “bigger”.

There are plenty of other places where anarchists can interact, and the subset of tech-savy ones that appreciate Lemmy for its federated nature alone is probably not that big.

Trying to get anarchists to coordinate is a bit like herding cats ;) It has good and bad sides to it.

@rockroach
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I think it would be smaller, unless the fact that this being in this place pushes away anarchists, but i can’t tell since if they exist, they are not here and aren’t going to say.

poVoq
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There are for sure some, because the “Lemmy is run by tankies” meme has been spread around a lot.

@SineNomineAnonymous
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You can always use raddle. It’s been active for a long time but doesn’t have that many users.

poVoq
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I wish raddle all the best, but if I thought it was a suitable solution I would probably not be here ;)

@SineNomineAnonymous
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No worries. I genuinely thought you might not know about it. It’s a pretty small community.

@xe8
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I did go to raddle a couple of times but read this post and felt pretty uncomfortable about participating:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180405002453/https://raddle.me/f/lobby/28422/i-m-stepping-down-as-admin-because-of-some-shit-i-did-emma

@ancom
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and while Lemmy.ml seems to be not actively hostile against “us”,

if they are to much, they have no chance to reach into new circles to an amount they are capable if anarchists promote them. It’s always also a strategic question, when to shit on anarchists. They engage in historic revisionism, downplaying and justifying genocide, charm to figures such as Assad…what 's not hostile about this behaviour?

poVoq
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Let me remind you of rule 3 of this community. Also, “shitting” on the plate of your host isn’t very kind behavior.

As for the actual point you raise: I have not yet seen any discriminatory action by lemmy.ml administrators against anarchists on this website and the way the platform is build makes it easy to split off your own instance in case a substantial disagreement should arrive in the future.

I agree with you in so far as that I would also feel more comfortable with a host more in line with our ideals and I also fear that there might be a disagreement sooner or later.

But ultimately the problem is less about ideological alignment and more about avoiding detrimental power structures. In its technical fundaments Lemmy seems better in that regard than other platforms but as discussed further below that doesn’t mean an “anarchist” instance would automatically be safe from such problems.

@ancom
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Let me remind you of rule 3 of this community Argue about the point and not the person

Can be used anytime to silence criticism. I mean, how to criticize behavior of someone, without making it also about the person, because it is absolutely about the person, because it’s their behavior. Criticizing behavior is only allowed if it remains abstract? So if I share a critique about (Marxist-)Leninism, I should exclude Lenin and those that followed him from my critique? How does this make sense?

poVoq
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How about criticizing actual behavior? The administrators might or might not have somewhere (?) expressed some questionable believes, but can you point out some actually harmful action by them on this platform?

Let me remind you of two fundamental believe of anarchists: “actions speak louder than words” and “the end doesn’t justify the means”.

@ancom
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How about criticizing actual behavior?

I did, then you said I should not do this because of rule 3.

…can you point out some actually harmful action by them on this platform?

Why is it relevant on which platfrom they do such?

poVoq
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No you didn’t. You claimed (without any proof) that they have expressed certain believes and implied that they are terrible persons because of that. No single behavior (= action) was even mentioned by you.

@ancom
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No you didn’t.

Then read again what I wrote. I criticized concrete action:

They engage in historic revisionism, downplaying and justifying genocide, charm to figures such as Assad…

poVoq
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All words, not action. And also (from what I have seen of their writing) not accurate, but lets agree to disagree on that part.

@ancom
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downplaying and justifying genocide is a concrete action.

What do you mean it’s just words? As in: Nazis organize hate campaigns online, aren’t actually doing something, because it’s just works.

What? Is this your analysis, really?

poVoq
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No, my analysis is that looking at anarchist presence here on lemmy.ml, there is no active hostility by the administrators. Nothing more and nothing less.

And despite your quite ad-hominem way of arguing and open criticism (by you and others) of some of the apparent political believes of lemmy.ml administrators, they have been quite tolerant and have not acted against “us”. So for the time being lets return that in kind and be reasonable guests.

@ancom
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my analysis is that looking at anarchist presence here on lemmy.ml

and this invalidates the observation that they engaged in downplaying and justifying genocide somewhere else. How so?

poVoq
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It is simply besides the point. And you also have not shown any kind of proof for it. From what I have read that seems like hyperbole of some much less problematic but still questionable believes of them.

@ancom
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As long as you state that downplaying and justifying genocide is only words and no action that is trouble some, there’s no way anyone could proof you their trouble some behaviour of downplaying and justifying genocide.

You just invalidated any critism of that kind, and what is invalid can’t be proofen to you. So it’s just pointless to do, until you reflect and change your position.

poVoq
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Proof is as simple as linking here a definite “downplaying and justifying genocide” by the lemmy.ml administrators.

What I am saying is that I have not seen them “downplaying and justifying genocide”, and what I have seen them doing was merely disagreeable words in a political debate.

Lets please stay with the facts and not some hyperbole ad hominem attacks.

@ancom
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Here’s a reflection of your behavior in this conversation:

me: state they engage in downplaying and justifying genocide.

you: that’s against rule 3, you should not say this

me: how else to criticize specific behavior without naming also what it’s about? seems like just an intend to silence criticism.

you: you don’t criticize behavior

me: yes I do criticize their behavior for downplaying and justifying genocide.

you: What they do is only words, no behavior/action

me: no, it is obviously behavior/action that I criticize

you: let’s stop this here.

me: well, what did I said at the beginning. Silencing criticism. Have a day where you’ll find some time to reflect, hopefully. cu

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